A Photographer’s Review of the Canon G11

Note: To see all future reviews please note this blog is no longer active, please visit me over at oopoomoo.com

As most of you know, I’ve had a Canon G11 for a few months and have been taking photos with it for my Daily Snap feature on this blog. This is not a tech review, for a great list of features and specs and a summary of what to expect from the camera go over to dpreview for their review on the Canon G11. For the stuff I like and dislike about the G11 from daily use see my summary below:

The Canon G11 – The Great Features

10 MP – That’s Plenty, Thanks!

The Canon G9 (released Sept. 2007) had 12 MP and at the time I thought Canon had crammed too many pixels onto too small a sensor–but it didn’t stop me from buying the camera😉. The G9 suffered badly from noise if I used anything higher than 200 ISO or if the RAW image was slightly underexposed and then brightened in the RAW converter (the blue channel was especially susceptible to noise with any strong post-production edits). Nevertheless, I loved the camera because I could take it everywhere and still get publishable photos for stock and commercial use as long as I stayed in the 100 ISO range and was meticulous about getting good exposures.

When Canon released the G10 a little over a year later many photographers thought Canon was headed in the wrong direction upping the pixel count to 14.7 MP. Indeed a common complaint about the G10 was noise at all but the lowest ISO settings. I never upgraded to the G10 because I felt jamming even more megapixels onto the tiny sensor was just asking for trouble.

In August of 2009, Canon introduced the G11 and I was really glad to see a reduction in the megapixel count to 10MP. Was the drop beneficial? You bet! I can easily make amazingly detailed 12 x18 inch prints from the G11 and the files seem cleaner and less noisy than G9 files. I often use the G11 to ISO 400 without hesitation and even to ISO 800 if I make sure I properly expose the files in-camera (expose the histogram to the right). So the drop in megapixels has given me a point-n-shoot that I can use at higher ISO’s. The photo below shows a studio still life followed by 100% detailed views showing noise characteristics of the G11 at various ISO’s. For most people ISO 400 is easily acceptable, and many would still be happy with ISO 800 in real world prints to 11×16. The screen shots here  show the magnified file much larger than you would see detail on a 12×18 inch print.

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon G11

ISO tests of the Canon G11 - 100% detailed crop

That Amazing Tilt and Swivel Screen 

For a long time photographer’s have been asking Canon to bring back the tilt and swivel LCD screen of their earlier G-series models. With the G11, Canon finally obliged. And I love it! I can’t imagine shooting without this feature. No matter what the camera angle you can rotate the LCD to see what you are shooting. This feature is great not only for macro photography but also for alternative angles of view in regular photography. Personally, I would never again buy a point-n-shoot camera without a tilt and swivel LCD screen: the feature is so useful that I have a hard time going back to my dSLR and its fixed LCD.

Quick Access ISO and Exposure Comp Dials

Two big and easily accessible control dials on top of the camera make it fast to change exposure compensation and ISO on the fly. I constantly use the exposure compensation on my cameras to fine-tune the exposure to get the best possible histogram for better quality files. And I often switch the ISO when moving from outdoor to indoor shooting conditions. I hate it when exposure compensation (or ISO) are parameters that are buried in sub-menus or can only be accessed by pressing three buttons, standing on your head and singing God Save the Queen–in a minor key.😉

The G11 makes exposure comp and ISO settings easy with the two large dials on top of the camera that are lit with yellow lights to show the setting you have chosen (see image below). As a side note, I almost always leave the exposure compensation on my G11 pushed to  +1/3 to get the histogram a bit more to the right for cleaner noise free files (just watch that you do not clip important highlight details).  For more on properly using your histogram, see my download “Expose Right”.

Fast accessible EXP COMP and ISO dials

Great Macro Mode

Compared to the G9, the macro mode on the G11 is much improved. With the G9 I had to mess around a lot to get a macro shot to work but for whatever reason, getting a macro shot in focus is much easier with the G11. I don’t really care what Canon did, all I care about is that the macro mode on this camera works so much better.

Macro mode on the G11

Great Image Quality

I’m impressed by the RAW files I get from the G11. I can easily get my G11 files accepted by Getty or any of the other stock agencies I use. So the quality of the files are good  enough for me to use in a professional capacity. They ain’t as good as a 5D Mark II, or even a Rebel (I won’t mention the 7d😉 ) but the files are really great for a point-n-shoot.

Built Like a Tank

Some people complain about the weight and the size of the G11 but frankly I like the solid feel and the little bit of heft in my hand, it feels like I am using a  Leica or something like that.

Useful Zoom Range

For me the zoom range equivalent of 28 – 140mm is perfect. I rarely need much wider than 28mm in a point-n-shoot and the 140mm is enough reach for my needs. I prefer the zoom range of the G11 over the G9 which was 35 -210mm. I would rather have more on the wide end than the long end.

The Canon G11 – The Crappy Stuff 

The Viewfinder

Why the hell did Canon ever put a viewfinder on the G-series cameras? It is totally useless; it is not accurate–it’s small and it’s pointless. Take off the viewfinder and trim a little weight from the camera!

Autofocus Modes

There are two autofocus modes in the G11, Face AiAF and FlexiZone. The former uses face recognition to focus on human faces (it works really well). The latter allows the user to manually move the AF focusing frame around the frame  to any point you want in focus. This mode works well and is my most used mode. With the G11 if there are faces I use Face AiAF. If I want to pick the focus point in more deliberate shooting then I pick FlexiZone.

The problem is neither mode works well for general shooting. With the G9 there was an AiAF mode that worked well for general subjects to get grab shots. I wish in the G11 that Canon had three modes, Face recognition, FlexiZone, and a generic AiAF mode.

The Thing I Hate the Most

On the right, back side of the camera are numerous buttons and a control dial. There are a tonne of controls back there and Canon probably thought that having them all together and easy to access with a thumb would make the camera fast to operate. The problem is that the buttons and the dial are too crammed together and too small for anyone with a normal sized thumb to use without accidently pressing several things at once. I need to use my fingernail to run these controls (just try that with gloves on). Also all those buttons on the back means there is nowhere to rest the base of your palm on the back of the camera. Holding the right side of the G11 with your right hand is problematic because no matter where you put your thumb or your palm you’re gonna hit some button and change some controls you don’t mean to. This drives me bonkers!! I swear and swear and swear evertime I hit a *%$#ing button accidentally! A few times I have wanted to chuck the flippin’ camera into the river because of this problem!

Where oh where does your right hand go?

Conclusion

I love the G11 but I really think Canon needs to rethink the controls on the back of the camera. Maybe on the G12 Canon will design things a little better. Canon you’re getting close to building a perfect point-n-shoot (at least for my likes). In spite of a few shortcomings, overall I am really happy with the G11 and will continue to use it daily.

43 Responses to “A Photographer’s Review of the Canon G11”

  1. I agree with your take on the G11 completely. Though I wasn’t a G9 owner, I did have a Panasonic LX3 (which is VERY Leica-esque), but it didn’t feel good in my hands (forget about your right hand – I felt like I needed to cradle it).

    I love the EV and ISO dials; they keep the camera functional and also agree completely with your take on ISO. I’m SHOCKED at how well the Face AF works… and yeah, some smart af would be cool (firmware update Canon?).

    My fingers are pretty small for a guys so I don’t find the buttons and dial on the back cumbersome, though I do tend to agree there’s too much in one place – I find myself mashing them frantically when trying to figure out which one of them switches from shutter to aperture in manual mode (folks reading at home: can you guess?).

    One one “complaint” which could also easily be fixed in firmware is this: the G11 has a self timer option, and it can be customized with variables of both time and quantity of shots. However, there is a limit on the quantity; 10. What an arbitrary number! This is certainly a firmware only thing, and if it were expanded to a much higher number; we could get into some cool in-camera time lapse work. As it stands, if I want to do time lapse I’m going to need a fancy remote… I’m not even sure if the ones compatible with the G11 support that. For my money, I’d just like that one tweak: break the 10 exposure limit and give me hundreds of shots!

    • I agree with you about Face detect, I am blown away by how well it works.

      Good point about the self timer option – that would be awesome to have the ability to go beyond 10 frames (maybe the buffer in the camera is not big enough to go beyond 10 frames?)

      Thansk for the comment. Darwin

  2. Darwin, I thought your G11 review was pretty bang on. I too had the Canon G9 but I traded it in late 2008 for the Panasonic LX-3. Mainly because I wanted something with a wider lens. I’ve since given the LX-3 to my girlfriend and bought the G11.

    I have to agree with you 100% about the buttons on the right side. They’re so easy to accidentally press and they just drive me nuts! I think that if they got rid of the useless viewfinder, they could put a few of the buttons there.

    Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with the camera. It’s great for when I go out for walks, hikes or for scouting locations.

  3. I upgraded to the G11 from the Canon A710IS and have been reasonably pleased with the upgrade, though I have been kind of surprised by the steps backward in terms of general performance and snapiness from that older model camera. The optics are hugely improved as is the dynamic range and higher ISO capability. Movie mode on the G11 needs some serious lovin from some of Canon’s engineers, however.

    • Hi Bryce,

      I totally agree about the basic movie mode on the G11. It could easily be updated to Canon’s standards with its other cameras. I did not mention the movie mode because a lot of photographers really have no interest in using a still camera to make movies.

      Darwin

  4. Darwin,

    This is the first time I’ve commented on a photo blog. Thanks for writing something that compelled me to finally add my two cents and not just soak up the info!

    I used the G10 extensively, and now also the G11. I’m mostly very happy with the G11. Its ability to shoot successfully at higher ISOs has helped me get many shots that would have been impossible with the G10 during the non-daylight hours that dominate our Alaskan winter season.

    Also, according to DXOMark http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Compare-cameras/(appareil1)/247|0/(appareil2)/334|0/(onglet)/0/(brand)/Canon/(brand2)/Canon , the G11 is supposed to have more than 1 stop of increased dynamic range, which I still find sorely lacking in most cameras. I hope Canon comes out with the rumored 3D, which is supposed to be better in this area.

    Also, although 28-140mm is perhaps the sweet spot for most, I’d be happier with a wider wide-angle. To me, wide-angle just starts to get good at 28mm, and 24mm would be so much more useful — and interesting! Though I often use the lens fully extended at 140mm too.

    What compelled me to write was your comment that the optical viewfinder should be discarded because its useless.

    This is probably true for photos of stationary objects, but what if the subjects are moving very fast? And the G11 is capable of shooting fast moving objects without the weird artifacts. The viewfinder helps immensely for this!

    So for this reason alone, I hope Canon keeps the viewfinder in the G12. But it can also be useful for steadying the camera when shooting distant objects at 140mm for which the photo will need to be cropped anyway. And it’s probably useful for other things as well.

    They already dropped the sound recorder; though, which I found useful in the G10, as well as some other features — and this added no weight. It also added hardly any usefulness as far as photography is concerned. But it was very practical in other ways.

    It’s sad to see Canon drop useful features that they’ve already spent the R & D to develop.

    So this is my plea to encourage Canon to add, not drop features from cameras. The features they drop may not have been used by every user, but they are sorely missed by many who did appreciate their use.

    Jeff Fenske
    Anchorage, Alaska

    • Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for commenting.

      I agree with all your points. For me I can get by with 28mm — but if we had a point-n-shoot with a 24 or 20mm wide end I would go crazy with happiness!

      And thanks for the enlightening comment on the optical viewfinder. I never use it and know of no-one who does, so I just assumed it was useless. But after reading your comment I can actually see situations where it might come in handy!

      I agree with you about Canon dropping useful features, another one I miss is the ability to shoot in RAW but set the picture style (vivid, positive, sepia etc) to apply to the LCD display. I could do this with the G9 but they took that away with the G11.

      Darwin

  5. I have a G7, (I know, it’s outdated but it still works), and I hated that there was no place to get a good grip on it.
    What I did was add a few of those stick-on rubber feet, that you put on picture frames, in a couple of strategic places so I have something to grab and hold. It works great and they’ve held for… well, how ever long the G7 has been around. It might work on the G11 too.

  6. Great review of the G11. Now I want one!! Or maybe it’s best to wait till they fix the hand-hold thing. lol. I have an old powershot and I love how on the right front it’s has a curved bulge specially for your hand. Hopefully they implement something like that again on the next G series cam.

  7. I’ve shot many thousands of photos with the G10 and G11 and I’ve never once consciously thought as to where to put my hands. It’s seemed natural to me to put my right thumb above the trash button, now that I think about it. The button on the top-right has a ridge to the left and below it that protects it from being accidentally pressed.

    And I see that my right little finger supports the camera from underneath. The middle two fingers fit around the “curved bulge” on front.

    I’ve taken many slow shutter-speed shots, hand-held, that have been tack sharp, partly, thanks to the great IS!

    Maybe it depends upon hand size. I’m over 6-feet tall and wear XL sized gloves. Maybe if one had fairly small hands it would be harder to support the camera from underneath with the pinky. As it is, I can easily hold the camera just with my right hand; though, it wouldn’t be the steadiest shot. I have shot this way on the fly though.

    I wouldn’t think the pinky being positioned underneath is necessary if one uses both hands, though.

    Jeff

    • Hi Jeff,

      I never had any troubles with the rear buttons on the G9 and holding the camera felt natural but I can’t seem to do anything but accidentally hit the back buttons on the G11. Samantha has the same troubles as well.

      I actually hold the camera exactly the same way as you but because I have short fingers, the meaty part of my hand where the thumb joins hits the back buttons. I can see someone with longer fingers (like you) could hold the meaty part of your palm away from the camera. So maybe this is a small hand problem??

      Darwin

  8. Darwin,

    Hmmm. Very interesting! Usually us tall people are at an ergonomic disadvantage in this world. Perhaps in this case it’s switched.

    Perhaps they can make the G12 one-size-fits-all.

    The S90 would be an option for many, but it sounds like you wouldn’t like it nearly as much as the G11 since you like its articulating screen and the external dials.

    The S90’s barrel distortion at 28mm was a turn-off for me until I read that it may be better to correct this with software than with lens design. It’s also nice to have the extra reach of the G11’s 140mm lens; though, I’d gladly sacrifice it if the lens went wider. Sounds like you would too.

    What if Canon would make a G12a and a G12b? One would have a super-wide-angle lens (like a 18-50mm) and the other would have a super-telephoto (like a 70-300mm). And then we’d carry two cameras. I would, but I don’t know how many others would.

    The micro 4/3 system seems like the only way to get super wide and super long in a fairly compact and light-weight package. It sounds like Olympus is coming out fairly soon with these lenses.

    Jeff

    • Yes, I am lusting for the Panasonic GF-1 and possible 4/3 rd’s Olympus cameras for travel and backpaking but I am afraid to try any of them ’cause I would probably buy them! For now the G11 works for what I need.

      Darwin

  9. Darwin,

    Thanks for the review on the G11.

    I totally agree about the buttons on the right hand side – I’ve hit the various buttons (especially with gloves on) so many times, and it drives me nuts every time I do it. Hopefully they’ll hear us and change it next time.

    Comparing to the Nikon P6000, the P6000 at least has a reasonable thumb rest and a wider hand grip that allows you to hold it comfortably in one hand.

    John.

  10. Jar Sconce Says:

    How does the G11 compare to the 5D with shutter lag? Currently we have the Panasonic LX3, but man, that is slow for a quick snap of our little boy. Even my wife now grabs the 5D for taking pictures.

    • I use the G11 for snaps of people and dogs and haven’t found the shutter lag to be a problem. There is no the G11 can compete with a 5d but I never feel like shutter lag is an issue for what I do. Darwin

  11. Lovely review on the camera …. i have a G9 and now am thinking perhaps I’d upgrade to the 11 … i was never taken with th e reviews i read about G10 but i love so many characteristics you tell of the G11.

    THe wider lense for sure (down to 20 would be great) … the quality of image is most important – i love that the ISO range is higher before noise comes in although some images i seek to create noise with (a particular photo of mine comes to mind where a pear with shadow, reduced to black and white looks like a mezzotint thanks to the noise – yummy) …

    http://fyneimages.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-shadow3.html

    I have small hands but even on the G9 I have inadvertently hit buttons with the heel of my hand or at the top with my index finger.

    i love the idea of the self timer up to 100s of shots …

    wonder if i should wait for G12 to come out ?

    great reading, thank you >>> Gina

  12. I am looking for information as to the length of time that you can run the time lapse intervalometer on the G9. My Nikons have number limits of 999 per folder than the function stops and it will have to have a fresh folder created to have the function resume. Is the G9 capable of doing Time lapse for days on end?
    Thanks
    -Kerry

  13. Hi Darwin,
    What is the Minimum aperture of G11? Thanks,
    Cindy

  14. Max aperture is f2.8 smallest aperture is f8. F8 on the G11 is equivelaent to f22 on a dSLR.

    Darwin

  15. Jay Linsenbigler Says:

    I am considering getting a G11. Can anyone tell me how are the prints – say up to 12×18 or 16×20- compared to an SLR? Can one HONESTLY tell the difference? Anyone test print size compared to an SLR with a larger sensor?

    • Properly exposed and using good technique and good post production I get images that I can easily print to 12 by 18 inches with the G11. Presented to other photographers they can’t tell if it was taken with a dSLR or with a a point-n-shoot. I also submit my G11 to Stock agencies like Getty. I think beyond 12 by 18 then the dSLR quality really starts to kick in and the G11 images start to show their imitations but only experienced photographers really notice, the general public won’t be that discerning. Darwin

  16. I don’t suppose you had an interest in the Canon S90 which uses the ame sensor as the G11? Yes, the G11 has everything the S90 has, except the f/2.0, and more.

    • The S90 is really great I have heard but I really want and need the tilt-swivel screen on the G11.

      • Darwin,

        My curiosity keeps bugging me. You seem to have discovered something that I haven’t yet.

        I wrote, above, how useful the optical viewfinder is for fast action shots (even shooting pets running around in the yard, for example); even though, for still shots it’s practically useless, given that the lcd seems to always be bright enough and because it crops the view so dramatically.

        Perhaps this will encourage some to try this out, because it does really seem useless on first inspection.

        But I’m super curious why you are so in love with the tilt-swivel screen. I’m thinking you know something about this feature that could help me (and perhaps others) really appreciate it more than I do.

        Having used the G10 so much, I got used to the non-articulated screen. I never had to open it up or worry much about it scratching (apparently the G11’s screen isn’t protected as well). It was pretty much trouble free and always ready to go.

        I can see how the tilt-swivel screen on the G11 will be very handy (maybe even indispensable) for certain macro shots once the vegetation again comes out, but I won’t know this for a few more months. Other than that, I don’t see it so far as a necessity.

        I did have fun shooting in an auditorium with the G11 positioned on my lap, using the screen tilted to easily get the shot (no seats in front of me), but I could have done this with the G10 by just moving the camera farther forward.

        And the G10 could be used overhead by just moving it a bit forward than what is maybe the most comfortable position.

        And I’ve taken self-portraits with the G10. It just takes more tries to get it right.

        And I don’t know if I’m ever going to be shooting around corners in stealth mode with it, or at waist level.

        I do think it may end up being indispensable for macro, but other than that, it really does often cramp my style if I’m in a hurry. And apparently, its surface is easily scratched, so it should be faced inward during carry unless the case is certainly dirt free.

        We talked about how Canon too often drops useful features. I’m thinking that maybe you can help sell us on why this feature is so important that you wouldn’t buy another compact camera without it, as you’ve stated.

        This is my beef: I’m finding that just flipping open and shooting with the lcd is very awkward, because it doesn’t open far enough (90°) to be on the same plane as the camera — so everything is crooked. I think it was Michael Reichmann who complained about this, and I think he has a good point. So to get it to shoot like I could with the G10 (which is always ready to go) I find that I have to open it, flip it, and then close it back onto the camera again. And this takes long enough to maybe miss a shot.

        I’m also thinking that sooner or later the all of this swiveling may end up with an electrical short in which the camera will no longer be operational. Hopefully, I’m wrong here. So I find that I don’t always flip it back in the closed position, where it’s the most protected — in order to save time and maybe wear and tear on the electrical part of the swivel mechanism.

        I think I’m finding that its usefulness exceeds its awkwardness, but I’m not yet convinced. Plus, it’s a smaller viewable screen; even though, it’s bigger in mass so that it forced the dial to its right to be made smaller.

        Darwin, since you are so fully excited about it, am I missing a key aspect of what this little baby can really do? I would like to also be so totally convinced. And the more the public realizes how great this feature is the more apt Canon is to keep it in forthcoming models.

        By the way, the number one reason I prefer the G11 over the easier to carry S90 is the lens. I especially like the greater reach of the G11’s lens, but, again, if either camera started at 24mm….

        Thank you! Your blog is a joy to regularly visit.

        Jeff

  17. Hi Jeff

    re. the tilt swivel screen – Like you say it is useful for macro but I find it so useful for general landscape photography especially for low angle views which I take all the time. When the camera is planted on the ground it is hard to get your face down to see the LCD unless you can articulate it up. Also if I want to jam the camera into a tight place I can move the screen around to see what I am doing. I could never have gotten my daily snap from Feb 18 without a tilt-swivel screen – https://darwinwiggett.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/the-daily-snap-feb-18/

    So if you do wonky low-angle shots, hold the camera up high above your head, do lots off macro or do stealth photos the tilt-swivel is great. If you just mostly shoot from a standing or kneeling position you don’t need a tilt-swivel screen

    Darwin

  18. andy (brighton Says:

    Thanks, this review has been useful to me. So many reviews become obsessed with number crunching but you have concentrated on your experiences of practical use of the camera which is, after all, what counts.

  19. Canon Rumors http://www.canonrumors.com/2010/02/rumors-ive-filtered-best-of is predicting this:

    G11 will be the last of the current “G” series design. Complete redo and model name for the next one.

    If this is true, it will be interesting to see what they come up with and whether this review has influenced their design.

    Jeff : )

  20. Nice practical walk through.

    There’s something bugging me about this camera and tell me if you know I’m doing something wrong. (I swear i read the manual cover to cover).

    When I’m in AV mode or P I can jump into the flash compensation and set 1/3 increment adjustments +/- 2 stops. However when I put the camera into M (which is what I love about this camera) the flash control is suddenly a clumsy “minimum, medium, maximum”. It seems like minimum gives me 2 stops under and medium is already a stop over any subject I’m working with and we haven’t even gone to max yet.

    Is there a setting I’m overlooking? Can this camera be in manual but with auto flash or at least manual flash with actual power settings like 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, etc?

    • I rarely use manula but almost alwyas use AV plus Exposure Compensation so I have not run into this interesting little ‘glitch’. Thanks for informing me of this, I will try out M and flash Comp next time I am out. Darwin

  21. […] budget is pretty close to a Canon G11. A Photographer’s Review of the Canon G11 Darwin Wiggett […]

  22. […] I have seen images by others that certainly meet very critical standards (See Darwin Wiggets wonderful images and daily shots many of which are G9/G11 shots here) […]

  23. Darwin:

    I’m a recent G11 buyer, and the viewfinder was a primary requirement for me. I can’t focus my eyes, even with my trifocals, closer than 14-16 inches (farther in the dark). A viewscreen is awkward for many shots, and a bit too far from my eyes for some that require careful checks for being level or plumb.

    The fact that the viewfinder encompasses only 77% of the frame is problematic, but not impossible. I always pass my shots through software before printing anyway.

    Yes, the LCD is a fraction of an inch smaller than others, but it is 400,000-odd pixels, and many are about 250,000. Pretty sharp, but with the sun at your back, can still be hard to see — while the viewfinder always functions. The screen has an anti-glare coating, and those usually are metallic, making them slightly less abrasion-resistant than glass.

    As for folding it out: I leave mine folded against the camera, with the screen exposed, when I’m putting it in the bag. If I’m to pocket it, I’ll close it fully for protection. I bought a protective film cover for it, but because the screen has the antireflection coating, I’m unwilling to apply it.

  24. […] there’s nothing wrong with the G10 if you can get a good price on one. Need more information? Canadian photographer Darwin Wiggett gives his G11 review here. (We all wish he would photograph Yellowstone with his distinctive style in capturing mountain […]

  25. Lynn M. Harton Says:

    Has anyone had experience with adding the Lensmate or similar adapters to the G11? With this one can add Cokin P holder, polarizizers and .45x wide angle lens.

  26. Lynn: I use an Opteka adapter which, like the Lensmate, is metal instead of plastic, like Canon’s. With it, you can use a number of accessory lenses or filters. I have the 0.45x wide-angle, a 2.2x telephoto, and a set of filters (all Opteka) that came in a kit with a tripod and camera bag large enough for everything but the very lightweight tripod. No problem with the optics.

    Many G11 users have said they were unhappy with the plastic adapters because the threads are easily stripped. I had my metal adapter apart and together, on and off, a zillion times on a recent trip to Alaska, and its threads are in excellent shape.

    The Opteka 0.45x has a removable rear element that serves as a macro “diopter,” or multiplier, when unthreaded from the main lens group. I don’t know if that’s typical of other brands.

    The adapters usually come in two pieces. The shorter, or rear tube, which locks onto the bayonet lugs of the camera, is perfect for the wide-angle. (You wouldn’t want to zoom the wide-angle accessory if you can remove it.) It also is suitable for filters if you don’t zoom far. That’s because the camera’s lens doesn’t move forward in the first half or so of the zoom range. After that, it extends. If you extend the lens against an accessory or filter, the camera senses the pressure and shuts itself off.

    You need both adapter parts for maximum zoom (it makes no sense to use a 2.2x multiplier if you only zoom out halfway, because the stock optics are always better than an add-on). Between the 0.45x and the 2.2x, you effectively get about a 15x zoom range, although the shots will always be a bit sharper without the multipliers. Both parts of the adapter fit 58mm filters, and the lenses are the same, standard size among brands.

    The polarizer is an essential for serious shooting, but don’t bother paying for a kit with a fluorescent-light filter and a UV. The camera has an excellent light-source setting (as does the software for fixing errors), and no digital camera needs a UV — not one. Film is sensitive to UV, but sensors are not.

    Some people like a UV or skylight filter to protect their lenses, but if you have to use the tube, the lens is already protected somewhat. And mounting one restricts you either to the first half or last half of the zoom range because, with both sections threaded together, wide shots look like you shot through a pipe.

    As for the Cokin system: It’s fine for using an expensive series of color filters on two or more cameras, but not useful with digital. You can do most adjustments in almost any photo editor, and can colorize half frames in PhotoShop, Elements, and a few other apps. But the quality of the filters is reportedly very good.

  27. Hi Darwin…really enjoyed your comments on the G11. I used a G7 for years as backup. There were things I hated about it, but also things I really enjoyed. I need a new “small” camera. So…what do you think….G12 or Olympus PL-1. Maybe I should just go wioth the G11…it sounds pretty good. Love to hear your comments on the G-12 when you get your hands on one.

  28. Agree with the review, I’ve had the G11 for just under a year and its an amazing little camera.
    I take mine everywhere and snap everything.
    It even inspired me to create a blog!

  29. In praise of Canon’s lcds, having jumped ship

    Having used the G10 and G11 extensively, and now have jumped ship to Panasonic — now using the LX5 — I now have a greater appreciation for the Canon’s ability to zoom in microscopically to review our images in camera.

    I was disappointed with the G12’s advancements, especially in that they didn’t redesign the lens to go wider, I’m now using a LX5.

    I like very much the 24mm wide end, and its ability to go even wider into the lens in the 3:2 and 16:9 formats. But I had no idea that the lcd zoomability in the review mode is the Canons is so much superior.

    With all of my Canon cameras I can zoom way into the pictures that have been taken. It’s even possible to check lens sharpness at varying f-stops in camera. And in-camera editing can be so precise, checking sharpness, etc.. I had no idea that some of other companies are in the dark ages, in comparison. I hadn’t read complaints about this in the forums.

    With the LX5, zooming into photos taken a couple of clicks is okay, but beyond that, the images turn to mush. My guess is that Canon gives us a full-fledged JPEG, while the JPEG Panny shows us in the viewfinder (post capture) is a tiny sized, thumbnail version of what we just shot.

    I’m really disappointed with this inability to really see what I just shot, and I’m surprised why more Panny users don’t complain about this point.

    Canon’s lcds just really rock. It’s so great to be able to zoom into a photo when showing friends the details too.

    I imagine Panny has chosen to use a smaller image in order to speed up browsing. I’d rather scroll slower and see more.

    Anyway, I thought I’d share this here in case some of you aren’t aware of this greatness in Canon and huge weakness in Panny’s LX series. For me, Panny is taking away some of the fun of shooting with these little gems, otherwise.

    Jeff

  30. I have G11 and I know how great it is be reading all kind of reviews but I was never able to get the right crispy sharp picture that I used to have it with the Nikon Coolpix P1 or P5, is too much sittings is a curse?

    what is the trick to get a sharp crisp photo?

    Thanks,

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